SPECIAL OLYMPICS ARIZONA INC

aka SOAZ   |   Goodyear, AZ   |  www.specialolympicsarizona.org

Mission

The mission of Special Olympics Arizona is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for individuals with intellectual disabilities by giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Notes from the nonprofit

The Special Olympics mission remains as vital today as it did when the movement was founded in 1968. Special Olympics strives to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people by providing access to high quality sports, arts, health, leadership, advocacy and other inclusive programs for people of all abilities. Through the power of sports, people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths and abilities, skills and success. Our athletes find joy, confidence and fulfillment -- on the playing field and in life. They also inspire people in their communities and elsewhere to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential. Thank you for your support and interest in learning more about the inclusion revolution!

Ruling year info

2002

President & CEO

Mrs. Jamie Heckerman

Main address

2455 North Citrus Road, Building 64

Goodyear, AZ 85395 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

86-0307564

NTEE code info

Special Olympics (N72)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Health Support Services (E60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Special Olympics is an unprecedented global movement, which, through quality sports training and competition, improves the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, and, in turn, the lives of everyone they touch. Special Olympics empowers people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential and develop their skills through year-round sports training and competition, as well as provide access to high quality health, art, and youth advocacy programs. As a result, Special Olympics athletes become fulfilled and productive members of their families and the communities in which they live.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Sports Training & Competitions

Special Olympics Arizona offers 20 Olympic-type individual and team sports which provide meaningful training and competition opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities, including age-appropriate activities and activities for lower ability athletes.

State competitions are state-wide competitions conducted at the culmination of each sports season and serve as qualifiers to meet the criteria for athletes to advance to the National or World level of competition.

Athletes can play traditional sports (teams with only people with disabilities) or Unified Sports (teams with people with and without disabilities) who play together on the same teams.

Population(s) Served

Special Olympics Unified Sports® is an inclusive sports program that combines an approximately equal number of Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) on teams for training and competition

Population(s) Served

The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change. With sports as the foundation, the three component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions.

This is accomplished by implementing inclusive sports, inclusive youth leadership opportunities, and whole school engagement. The program is designed to be woven into the fabric of the school, enhancing current efforts and providing rich opportunities that lead to meaningful change in creating a socially inclusive school that supports and engages all learners. What a Unified Champion School “looks like” can vary greatly from school to school, based on the needs, goals, schedules and other factors unique to each school; but the basic building blocks remain the same.

Together we are creating a Unified Generation that Chooses to Include. Join us.

Population(s) Served

Special Olympics Arizona is a social change organization that utilizes sports and Unified programs as a catalyst for social change. Our vision is to expand the opportunities for social change by increasing access to the arts, building new audiences, and showcasing the many talents of our Special Olympics Athletes and Unified Partners through Unified Arts. The goal of Unified Arts is to empower people of all ages, with and without intellectual disabilities, to develop their creative and artistic skills while forming lifelong friendships with their local community.

Unified Arts with Special Olympics Arizona is different from every other free art program in the state as it is housed both within school and in communities and is open to all ages, all abilities, and all levels of art knowledge!

Through Unified Arts, you can join esports, robotics, music, photography, gardening, and art contests all year long!

Population(s) Served

n 1997, Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® began offering free health screenings and education to Special Olympics athletes in a welcoming, fun environment. Since then, we have delivered over 2 million free health screenings and trained more than 260,000 health professionals and students to treat people with intellectual disabilities. These providers take these skills back to their practices and provide higher quality health care to people with ID – not just Special Olympics athletes – in their communities. We offer health screening in eight areas:

Fit Feet (podiatry), FUNfitness (physical therapy), Health Promotion (better health and well-being), Healthy Hearing (audiology), MedFest (sports physical exam), Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes (vision), Special Smiles (dentistry), and Strong Minds (emotional well-being)

Population(s) Served

SOAZ/AIA Unified Sports® is about inclusion and recognition of the Special Olympics athletes on their high school campus. Unified Sports® athletes have the opportunity to enjoy sports competition and represent their school as an official team on campus. The SOAZ/AIA Unified Sports® program offers individuals with and without disabilities a typical high school sports experience including earning an athletic letter, wearing a letterman's jacket, and being recognized at school pep assemblies.

Population(s) Served

Special Olympics Young Athletes is a sport and play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities (ID), ages 2 to 7 years old. Young Athletes introduces basic sport skills, like running, kicking and throwing. Young Athletes offers families, teachers, caregivers and people from the community the chance to share the joy of sports with all children.

Population(s) Served

Since implementation of Healthy LEAP: Lifestyle, Education and Practice, Special Olympics Arizona has learned best practices through the program and discovered it was missing practical manners of implementing fitness into everyday routines. In 2018, SOAZ will be re-launching the free program to include a fitness portion adapted for all levels! Adopted from SOfit from Special Olympics Minnesota, Healthy LEAP into Fitness will include a new chapter dedicated to educating and encouraging Athletes and partners on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle through increased physical activity and improved daily nutrition. The Healthy LEAP into Fitness program allows SOAZ Athletes and Partners to experience a heightened social engagement and better emotional wellbeing as a byproduct of the inclusive and unified nature of this program.

The program is modeled to include health education, class educational activity, and a class workout that is provided from UpFitNFun.com! Like Healthy LEAP, this program is designed to be taught in an eight week format- either as a team at practice or as a health promotion class. Each coach is given a Coach's Manual with the complete health lesson and tools and every participant receives a Playbook where they are able to take notes and set personal goals. Healthy LEAP into Fitness is compromised of four pillars of health: emotional, nutritional, physical, and social that are each comprised of three lessons.

Population(s) Served

When you think of Arizona, I bet most of you picture cacti, tumbleweeds, and 100+ degree weather. What you should picture is a multitude of wide open spaces, dramatic landscapes, and hiking trails suitable for all skill levels! What's great about hiking is that you can do it practically anywhere, with minimal gear and no cost! Every couple of months, Special Olympics Arizona will be releasing a new trail to get you outdoors and moving-all over the state! We will be hosting various hiking events throughout the state.

Interested in becoming more involved with Unified Hiking? Check out our Unified Hiking Advisory Committee!

The goal of the Unified Hiking Advisory Committee (UHAC) is to assure that Special Olympics Arizona utilizes Arizona's natural beauty and resources to provide opportunities for SOAZ athletes and supporters to continue living healthy, active lifestyles. The Unified Hiking Advisory Committee oversees Special Olympics Unified Hiking program and initiatives. Made up of parks and recreation staff, rangers, educators, overall outdoor enthusiasts, and volunteers, the UHAC helps to create and promote overall outdoor health and wellness activities, programs, and outdoor resources including safety and health information.

Population(s) Served

Through Unified Music, you can get engaged in a few different ways starting with the launch of our Unified Music Ukulele Curriculum. Thanks to our partnership with Korg Education, Tanglewood Guitars, Guitars in the Classroom, and the Country Music Association (CMA), your school or community delegation can receive Unified Music Ukulele Kits whichincludes a ukulele, colored strings, electronic tuner, gig bag, and an adaptive Ukulele Curriculum that incorporates learning for people of all abilities and all ages. The Unified Music Ukulele Curriculum allows for an easy, turn-key approach that empowers people with all levels of music knowledge to learn how to play the uke! As of the 2019-2020 school year, Special Olympics Arizona already has over 250 participants statewide who are loving to learn how to play the ukulele and are eager to start showing off their musical abilities!

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of competition entrants

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Related Program

Sports Training & Competitions

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

SOAZ empowers 21,461 active athletes (people with disabilities) and Unified partners (people without disabilities) and 24,743 volunteers.

Total number of competitions held

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Related Program

Sports Training & Competitions

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

SOAZ hosts inclusive activities including 20 sports, 675 regional competitions, 3 state competitions, 8 health screenings, & 3 art programs.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Our goals are to continuing increasing the amount of people who are engaged in Unified programming in Arizona. Simultaneously, Special Olympics Arizona will offer high-quality, sustainable programs and is not numbers driven but rather focused on ensuring access to programs of the Special Olympics high standards and expectations to ensure people with disabilities have equal access and opportunities.

We are developing new programs and partnerships to reach further into the community with inclusion.

We have strong hard working eager staff and our volunteer leadership has doubled its efforts in reaching out to the community.

We have accomplished what we wanted to do so far, and want to increase by another 50%. We are going outside of traditional sports and getting involved in schools and communities spreading the message of inclusion for all.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Established new Unified Arts program to engage students and adults with and without disabilities through creative forms beyond sports including music, photography, esports, robotics, gardening, and art contests. This came from a suggestion of a Unified pair at a local High School in Arizona.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome,

Financials

SPECIAL OLYMPICS ARIZONA INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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SPECIAL OLYMPICS ARIZONA INC

Board of directors
as of 5/15/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Doug Steele

Peoria Police Department

Term: 2016 - 2019

Jim Pitman

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/20/2019

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/20/2019

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.